Daily Archives: May 3, 2023

Address the growing urgency of fungal disease in crops

Listen to BBC related story 3 May 2023 – BBC Newshour 1300

In October 2022, the World Health Organization (WHO) published its first list of fungal pathogens that infect humans, and warned that certain increasingly abundant disease-causing fungal strains have acquired resistance to known antifungals1. Even though more than 1.5 million people die each year from fungal diseases, the WHO’s list is the first global effort to systematically prioritize surveillance, research and development, and public-health interventions for fungal pathogens.

Yet fungi pose another major threat to human health — one that has received even less attention than infections in people.

Hundreds of fungal diseases affect the 168 crops listed as important in human nutrition by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. Despite widespread spraying of fungicides and the planting of cultivars bred to be more disease resilient, growers worldwide lose between 10% and 23% of their crops to fungal disease every year, and another 10–20% post-harvest2. In fact, the five most important calorie crops — rice, wheat, maize (corn), soya beans and potatoes — can be affected by rice blast fungus, wheat stem rust, corn smut, soybean rust and potato late blight disease (caused by a water mould oomycete), respectively. And losses from these fungi equate to enough food to provide some 600 million to 4,000 million people with 2,000 calories every day for one year3. Such losses are likely to increase in a warming world4,5.

Much more awareness of the plight of the world’s crops as a result of fungal disease is needed, as is more government and private- sector investment in crop fungal research.

Adaptive potential unleashed

In a 2019 list of 137 pests and pathogens (ranked according to impact), fungi dominate the first to sixth places for diseases affecting each of the world’s 5 most important calorie crops6. Wheat, for example, is grown over more land area than any other crop, with production yielding around 18% of all the calories consumed globally each year. Despite mitigation practices, current crop losses worldwide from infections by the Septoria tritici blotch disease-causing fungus Zymoseptoria tritici, the main wheat pathogen in temperate areas, range from 5% to 50%7. Losses caused by the wheat stem rust fungus Puccinia graminis, which frequents more tropical climates, range from 10% to 70% of the harvest3. Commodity crops, such as bananas and coffee, which in many countries generate revenue that is used to purchase calorie crops, are also vulnerable to fungal diseases.

…(read more).

Debt Ceiling: Economist James K. Galbraith Warns GOP Proposal Would Gut Social Safety Net

Democracy Now! – May 3, 2023

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned Congress that the United States could run out of money to pay its bills by June 1 unless lawmakers raise the debt ceiling. House Republicans last week narrowly passed a bill to raise the debt ceiling, but only in exchange for sweeping spending cuts to numerous programs, including student debt relief, food assistance, Medicaid and renewable energy. Democrats, meanwhile, are pushing for a vote to raise the debt ceiling without imposing cuts, even as the constitutionality of the debt ceiling has been questioned by some legal scholars. For more on the debt ceiling, recent bank failures and other economic news, we speak with James Galbraith, economist and professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

Are New Ethics Rules Needed as Gorsuch, Roberts & Thomas Face Questions over Finances?

– May 3, 2023
Three conservative Supreme Court justices are now embroiled in a growing ethics scandal about their personal and financial connections. Recent reporting has revealed that Justice Neil Gorsuch sold property he co-owned to the head of a major law firm that has since had many cases before the court, Justice Clarence Thomas failed to disclose lavish gifts and payments from billionaire and conservative activist Harlan Crow, and the wife of Chief Justice John Roberts was paid over $10 million in commissions as a job recruiter placing lawyers at elite law firms. Legal experts and lawmakers are increasingly pushing for ethics reform on the high court, with the Senate Judiciary Committee holding a hearing on the issue on Tuesday. “Because they don’t have an ethics code, you don’t know whether they’re doing things in an above-board way,” says Vox senior correspondent Ian Millhiser. He also discusses growing frustration that California Senator Dianne Feinstein has not resigned her seat amid a prolonged absence from the Senate due to illness, which is stopping Democrats from confirming federal judges.

Relocalizing communities and economies through permaculture

Local Futures – May 3, 2023

In this World Localization Day video-message, celebrated permaculturist David Holmgren discusses how the household economy of non-monetary exchange and reciprocity is the foundation for strong resilient communities that have a low ecological impact as well as rebuilding local economies. Permaculture – ecological growing, building and living in care of people and planet – has over the decades contributed to the movement for smaller, localized economies that radically reduce ecological footprints, helping reverse the increasing monetization and corporatization of the economy of the past few hundred years. Holmgren explains how permaculture empowers us to take everything from food production to education of our children back into our own hands, and how it fosters a culture of maintenance and care – urgently needed antidotes to unsustainable and unjust consumerism.

Finally, Holmgren shares the vision he lays out in his book Retrosuburbia for retrofitting suburban landscapes from “lost” – energy-intensive, wasteful, unproductive – to agriculturally productive, biologically diverse landscapes. The pandemic starkly revealed how fragile and vulnerable current industrial modes of living are, such as in contemporary suburbia, and thus the vital importance of engaging in local production for local consumption once again.

For more information:

World Localization Day https://worldlocalizationday.org/

David Holmgren https://holmgren.com.au/

Africa is Now Projected to be The Fastest-growing Region Globally Beating Asia

2nacheki – May 3. 2023


Africa is now projected to become the fastest-growing region globally, outpacing Asia, according to a new report by Mo Ibrahim Foundation. It is reported that six out of the ten fastest-growing economies in 2023 are African countries. Africa is Now Projected to be The Fastest-growing Region Globally Beating Asia • Africa is Now Pro… #africanews

Can Asian economies afford the cost of climate-change? | DW News

DW News – May 3, 2023

One of Asia’s largest development lenders says its new climate-financing-program could help unlock funding for projects throughout the region. The Asian Development Bank saying the facility could raise 15 billion Dollars in new loans by using loan-guarantees to free up capital from its sovereign loan portfolio. The announcement came at the beginning off the development bank’s annual meetings in Incheon. Trade relations and the economic picture across Asia and the Pacific are expected to be a focus of the gathering.

Grain and Fire: A History of Baking in the American South: Rebecca Sharpless

While a luscious layer cake may exemplify the towering glory of southern baking, like everything about the American South, baking is far more complicated than it seems. Rebecca Sharpless here weaves a brilliant chronicle, vast in perspective and entertaining in detail, revealing how three global food traditions—Indigenous American, European, and African—collided with and merged in the economies, cultures, and foodways of the South to create what we know as the southern baking tradition.

Recognizing that sentiments around southern baking run deep, Sharpless takes delight in deflating stereotypes as she delves into the surprising realities underlying the creation and consumption of baked goods. People who controlled the food supply in the South used baking to reinforce their power and make social distinctions. Who used white cornmeal and who used yellow, who put sugar in their cornbread and who did not had traditional meanings for southerners, as did the proportions of flour, fat, and liquid in biscuits. By the twentieth century, however, the popularity of convenience foods and mixes exploded in the region, as it did nationwide. Still, while some regional distinctions have waned, baking in the South continues to be a remarkable, and remarkably tasty, source of identity and entrepreneurship.


This deep-dive nonfiction food narrative shows painstaking research into the foodways of our past, tracking the movement of the people and ingredients that shaped our region’s baking past.”—Local Palate

Within these eight chapters, Sharpless makes a persuasive case for why baking matters and how it both unites and divides people. . . . Recommended.”—CHOICE

Grain and Fire is a masterpiece, putting the author in the same company with influential, award- winning food scholars such as Marcie Cohen Ferris, Donna R. Gabaccia, John T. Edge, Michael W. Twitty, John Egerton, and Robert Ji-Song Ku. The book belongs in the pantheon of scholarly works on food history and critical food studies.”—Southwestern Historical Quarterly


In this sweeping, engaging, and compelling chronicle, Rebecca Sharpless wonderfully evaluates southern baking ‘with a steely eye.’ She serves up an excellent antidote to so much of the nostalgia and mythmaking that can pervade the story of baking in the South.”—Jennifer Jensen Wallach, author of Every Nation Has Its Dish: Black Bodies and Black Food in Twentieth-Century America

About the Author
Rebecca Sharpless is professor of history at Texas Christian University. Her most recent book is Cooking in Other Women’s Kitchens: Domestic Workers in the South, 1865–1960.

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ The University of North Carolina Press (June 28, 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 344 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 146966836X
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1469668369
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 9.9 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.5 x 1 x 9.5 inches

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Review Paper on Ice Sheet Loss on Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets

Paul Beckwith May 2, 2023

A new peer-reviewed scientific paper by multiple scientists from numerous research institutions in many countries summarizes the ice sheet mass balance at both poles (Greenland and Antarctica) from 1992 to 2020 using satellite data examining 3 different metrics (3 different ways), namely:
1) Ice loss versus ice gain to get net loss
2) Altimetry
3) Gravity

Using these three independent methods, the study allows for the most accurate determination of climate change induced mass loss at the poles, and the uncertainty in the measurements.

Basically, ice melt on the major ice sheets at the two poles has increased by an overall factor of six in the last 30 years. This represents a loss rate doubling period of about 11 years (a doubling period of 10 years for a time period of 30 years would give an overall factor of 2x2x2 = 8 times; we have 6 times). Of course this doubling period decreases as ice loss accelerates.

I also discuss an important new paper looking at sea level rise impacts. It argues that the impacts on coastlines will be much more severe that we previously thought, since coastline height above present sea level has been measured incorrectly up to now, using radar data. Rather than detecting the ground above sea level, this radar detection has been erroneously measuring treetop and coastal roof heights above sea level. Pretty crazy mistake for the DEMs (Digital Elevation Models).

Using the much better resolution and accurate method of LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) versus RADAR (Radio Detection and Ranging) the correct data has now been obtained, and it shows that 1 meter (3.3 feet) of SLR (sea level rise) will utterly swamp many low lying deltas and displace many more people than previously thought, and of course 2 meters of SLR will be even way more catastrophic to coastal regions around the planet.

See related:

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After Terminal Cancer Diagnosis, Daniel Ellsberg Reflects on Leaking Pentagon Papers & His Legacy

Democracy Now! May 1, 2023 Latest Shows

We spend the hour with Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, who recently announced that he has been diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer with only months left to live. Ellsberg, who turned 92 on April 7, may be the world’s most famous whistleblower. In 1971, The New York Times began publishing excerpts of the Pentagon Papers — 7,000 pages of top-secret documents outlining the secret history of the Vietnam War. The Times exposé was based on documents secretly photocopied by Ellsberg and Anthony Russo while they worked as Pentagon consultants at the RAND Corporation. The leak ultimately helped to take down President Nixon, turn public sentiment against the War in Vietnam and lead to a major victory for press freedom. The Nixon administration went to extraordinary lengths to silence and punish Ellsberg, including breaking into his psychiatrist’s office. But the government’s misconduct led to charges against him and Russo being dismissed. Over the past five decades, Ellsberg has remained a leading critic of U.S. militarism and U.S. nuclear weapons policy, as well as a prominent advocate for other whistleblowers. “Why in the world are we in this position, time after time, of fighting against the self-determination or the nationalism of other countries, and taking on those murderous tasks as opposed to dealing with problems at home?” says Ellsberg in an in-depth interview with Democracy Now!

Private Japanese moon lander’s view of solar eclipse shadow and Earth are amazing!

VideoFromSpace May 3, 2023

Japanese company iSpace’s Hakuto-R lander captured amazing views of the the Earth during a solar eclipse and more during its journey to a moon landing attempt. Full Story: https://www.space.com/moon-earth-shad…